The Sukhothai Historical Park contains the ruins of Sukhothai, the ancient town close to the modern city of the same name in North Thailand. The ruins date back to the 13th and 14th Century and in all the 70 square kilometres of the Park contain 193 ruins. Not surprisingly, it is a UNESCO Word Heritage site which thousands of people on holiday in Thailand visit each year.The Park opened in 1988 and received UNESCO recognition 3 years later. Many of the original artefacts from Sukhothai were moved down for museum display in Bangkok.
This Thailand travel guide cannot mention on the ruins but will list enough to persuade you to add the Park to your itinerary.
How to get there
The gateway to Northern Thailand is Chiang Mai where there is an airport with regular daily connections with Bangkok which itself connects with the world by air. There is also a train service into Chiang Mai.
Thailand’s roads are fairly good and even during the monsoon rains travelling is not as difficult as in neighbouring countries. Bus services are regular and trips up to the north are popular with those wanting to trek in the wonderful natural environment.
Best time to visit
The rains are most frequent between May and October but tourism in Thailand involves numbers happy to select Thailand tour packages any time. Thailand often plays a role in Indochina tour packages were seasons in neighbouring countries can be different.
Some of the Highlights
• Wat Mahathat is probably the highlight of the Park. Its name means ‘’temple of the great relic’’ and it was built early in the 14th Century. There is a main stupa shaped like a lotus bud with eight smaller ones in eight different directions.
• Noen Prasat is the ruins of the royal palace. Its base is 200 x 200 metres and the small lakes nearby contained terracotta piping that brought water from the city to the palace.
• Ramkhamhaeng National Museum opened in 1946 and ensured that many of the artefacts from the treasures of the region remained local. The abbot of one of the temples donated 2,000 exhibits and locals made contributions as well.
• Wat Si Sawai is believed to have been built towards the end of the 12th Century, one of the oldest buildings in the Park. It was originally a Hindu shrine
• Wat Phra Phai Luang is the largest temple and it was believed to have been the ritual centre as well. It is an important temple for the study of Khmer art. Most of the art is now in the museum.
• Wat Sa Si close to Ramkhamhaeng Monument is in the middle of a lake, a stunning setting.
• Wat Pa Mamuang was a temple of the forest monks. Legend talks of a mango forest where this royal temple was then built.
• Wat Chang Lom, a complex of Lanka style, has a moat, many elephant sculptures and many small stupas; sadly in most cases only foundations remain.
Thailand travel packages offer their clients a choice of accommodation. In Thailand there is something for every pocket with guesthouses being available in most remote areas.